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- King Arthur's Socks and Other Village Plays - 1/35 -


KING ARTHUR'S SOCKS AND OTHER VILLAGE PLAYS

BY FLOYD DELL

PREFATORY NOTE

These plays, with one exception, were written in Greenwich Village, and, with another exception, first performed there--some at the old Liberal Club, and others by the Provincetown Players. They are souvenirs of an intellectual play-time which, being dead, deserves some not-too-solemn memorial.

F. D.

CONTENTS

HUMAN NATURE: A Very Short Morality Play,

THE CHASTE ADVENTURES OF JOSEPH: A Comedy,

THE ANGEL INTRUDES: A Comedy,

LEGEND: A Romance,

SWEET-AND-TWENTY: A Comedy,

A LONG TIME AGO: A Tragic Fantasy,

ENIGMA: A Domestic Conversation,

IBSEN REVISITED: A Piece of Foolishness,

KING ARTHUR'S SOCKS: A Comedy,

THE RIM OF THE WORLD: A Fantasy,

POOR HAROLD: A Comedy,

HUMAN NATURE

A VERY SHORT MORALITY PLAY

TO ARTHUR DAVISON FICKE

This is a much changed version of "A Five Minute Problem Play," originally given at the Liberal Club, New York City, in 1913.

_Boundless blue space. Two celestial figures stand in front of it, talking. One of them carries a pointer, such as is used in class-room demonstrations at the blackboard. The other has a red-covered guidebook under his arm_.

THE FIRST CELESTIAL FIGURE (_the one with the pointer_) Well, I think that is all. You've seen everything now.

THE SECOND CELESTIAL FIGURE (_the One With the guidebook_) It has all been very interesting, and I don't know how to thank you for the trouble you've taken.

THE FIRST CELESTIAL FIGURE. Don't mention it. That's my business, you know--to show young and curious Spirits what there is to see in the universe. And I must say that you've been an exceptionally patient pupil. I don't usually take as much time with youngsters as I have with you. But when I find someone as interested in the universe as you are, I don't mind spending a few more eons on the job. We've been all around, this trip. I don't believe we've missed anything of any importance. But if there is anything else you can think of that you'd like to see--

THE SECOND CELESTIAL FIGURE. (_hesitantly_) Well, there is one place . . . It's only mentioned in a footnote in the guide-book, but for that very reason I thought perhaps--

THE FIRST CELESTIAL FIGURE. You have the right attitude. There's nothing too small or insignificant to know about. Do you remember the name of the place?

THE SECOND CELESTIAL FIGURE. No, but--(_He turns the leaves of the guide-book_.) Here it is. (_He holds the book closer so as to read the fine print at the bottom of the page_.) Earth, it's called.

THE FIRST CELESTIAL FIGURE. Ah, yes, there is such a place. . . .

THE SECOND CELESTIAL FIGURE. The guide-book doesn't give any information about it. Just mentions its name.

THE FIRST CELESTIAL FIGURE. Well, there isn't very much to say about it. After what you've seen, you wouldn't be impressed by its art or its architecture, . . . Still, it has one curious feature that perhaps you'd be interested in. It's--

_He pauses_.

THE SECOND CELESTIAL FIGURE. Yes?

THE FIRST CELESTIAL FIGURE. Perhaps I had better just show you, and let you make what you can of it.

THE SECOND CELESTIAL FIGURE. (_deferentially_) As you say.

THE FIRST CELESTIAL FIGURE. Here, then--look for yourself!

_He raises the pointer, and boundless space rolls up like a curtain, disclosing a comfortable drawing-room. The two celestial figures stand aside and look. A man and woman are sitting on a sofa, kissing each other. From time to time, in intervals between the kisses, they speak_.

THE MAN. No! No! I must not!

_But he does_.

THE WOMAN. No! No! We must not!

_But they do_.

THE MAN. We must not--

_The second celestial figure turns to look inquiringly at the first, and boundless space falls like a blue curtain between them and the scene_.

THE SECOND CELESTIAL FIGURE. It is strange. I've seen nothing like that anywhere in the universe. But why do you suppose--

THE FIRST CELESTIAL FIGURE. Oh, as to that, I really cannot say. It's what is called "Human nature."

THE SECOND CELESTIAL FIGURE. Oh!

_They walk off thoughtfully_.

THE CHASTE ADVENTURES OF JOSEPH

A COMEDY

"The Chaste Adventures of Joseph" was first produced at the Liberal Club, New York City, in 1914, with the following cast:

Madam Potiphar ....... Louise Murphy Asenath .............. Marjorie Jones Potiphar ............. Berkeley Tobey Joseph ............... Floyd Dell Slave ................ Maurice Becker

_A room in Potiphar's house. It is sparingly furnished with a table, two stools, and a couch, all in the simpler style of the early dynasties.... The table, which is set at an angle, is piled with papyri, and one papyrus is half-unrolled and held open by paper-weights where somebody has been reading it.... There is a small window in one wall, opening on the pomegranate garden. At the back, between two heavy pillars, is a doorway.... Two women are heard to pass, laughing and talking, through the corridor outside, and pause at the doorway. One of them looks in curiously_.

THE LADY. Such a lovely house, Madam Potiphar!--But what is this quiet room? Your husband's study?

MADAM POTIPHAR. (_coming in_) Oh, this is nothing--merely the room of one of the slaves. Come, dear Cousin Asenath, and I will show you the garden. The pomegranates are just beginning to blossom.

ASENATH. The room of a slave? Indeed! He seems to be an educated person!

MADAM POTIPHAR. Educated? Oh, yes--he is a sort of book-keeper for Potiphar. At least, that is what he is supposed to be. But he is never on hand when he is wanted. If he were here, we might get him to show us through the vineyard.

ASENATH. Why not send for him? I would love to see the vineyard before your husband takes me out in the chariot.

MADAM POTIPHAR. (_ironically_) Send for Joseph? It would be


King Arthur's Socks and Other Village Plays - 1/35

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